“Keep that weird man away from my girls!”

basag ang pula 1984

BASAG ANG PULA

3 Stars  1984/118m

Title Translation: Crazy

Director: Ben G. Yalung / Writer: Tony A. Calvento / Cast: Maria ‘Snooky’ Serna, Ace Vergel, Liza Lorena, Armida Siguion Reyna, Angela Perez, George Estregan, Bomber Moran, Arnold Mendoza, Debraliz Velasote.

Body Count: 16


Despite some years backpacking, I never got as far as the Philippines so know next to nothing about the place – go see the awesome Kaijunu at Sticky Red to learn things. But wonderful site comment-depositor Jenny Lo alerted me to both the existence of this film, and where to watch it.

Like some Indian and Pakistani films, this is presented largely in its regional language – Tagalog – with maybe 15-20% of dialogue uttered in English. Tagalog sounds a little similar to Spanish. Is it? I dunno.

Anyway, a couple of people are murdered and their moustached, itinerant killer, Fernando, who then attacks some necking teenagers, but only succeeds in killing the boy, while the girl alerts the cops and the hunt is on. He hides out in a school bus, killing the driver and hiding at the back, with the body, while numerous perky schoolgirls clamber aboard for a graduation trip.

basag ang pula 1984

For reasons not explained in English, they all get off the bus and wait for morning to go, by which time Fernando has decided to pose as the driver to flee town, and accompanies the class to a remote camp where they’re going to learn to grow as people n’ shit, under the guidance of strict headmistress, Nida.

Fernando is transfixed by nice girl Chiqui, who either is, or looks like a girlfriend of his from before. I think the latter. There’s a flashback where Fernando is shot by some gangsters who try to rape her.

He eventually flips and kills some of the girls and a boyfriend who rocks up. Meanwhile, Nida is having weird sub-lesbian encounters with a girl, while the others squeal over a ouija board as a storm rages outside.

The next night, one of the teachers catches Fernando in the act and we have about 25 schoolgirls running and shrieking at once. He’s kidnapped Chiqui, and there’s a very, very long dialogue scene – all in Tagalog – which I took to be her saying he needed to chill the fuck out. This gives the police time to come, and the final 20 minutes consists of marksmen hunting Fernando through the woods.

basag ang pula 1984

High bodycount, blood (though the version I saw was very aged and drained of colour), teens smoking pot, playing with spirit boards, lesbian teacher-student goings on… Basag Ang Pula ticks just about every box its American counterparts did, and were it a US production, it would doubtlessly be viewed as a classic. As it is, the film is so obscure it doesn’t even have the minimum five votes on IMDb. Super fun.

 

Lyin’ on a prayer

cry wolf 2005 dvd

CRY_WOLF

2 Stars  2005/12/87m

“BeLIEve.”

Director/Writer: Jeff Wadlow / Writer: Beau Bauman / Cast: Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Kristy Wu, Sandra McCoy, Paul James, Jesse Janzen, Gary Cole.

Body Count: 2

Laughter Lines: “Tonight you could’ve gotten laid, but instead you got fucked.”


As usual, a young blonde woman runs through the woods at night, heaving in her breaths, a flashlight behind indicating her hunter isn’t far behind. She hides, the mystery maniac loiters, produces a cellphone and calls ‘Becky’. The victim’s phone rings, revealing her whereabouts to the killer. Gunshot.

Like so many other teen horror films of this era, an aerial shot of autumnal trees reveals a posh looking, secluded school: Westlake Prep. Here, we’re introduced to Owen Matthews, a British transfer student. His first encounter is with doll-like flame-haired Dodger Allen, and later inducted into her group of friends, who meet after hours in the school’s chapel to play a game centred around lying: Who can be the most deceptive. This is Cry_Wolf‘s main thing – deception. Spoilers ensue.

cry_wolf 2005

Infatuated with Dodger from the off, Owen and she concoct a newer, better version of their game, selling a big lie to the entire faculty for the lolz. Remember 2000 campus thriller Gossip? Yeah, it’s that all over again but with knives.

Owen, Dodger, and the others invent a campus-cruising psycho called The Wolf, who wears a camo jacket and orange ski-mask, and slashes up students around Halloween. Tying it to the disappearance of the girl from the beginning only helps create an atmosphere of paranoia across the campus. Media teacher Jon Bon Jovi – yes, really – sees through the ruse and cautions serial-school-changer Owen about his behaviour.

cry_wolf 2005

A mystery game player begins sending IMs to Owen, claiming to be the actual killer, and threatens the group, his room in tossed, there’s a stranger following him and Dodger in the library, someone deposits a knife in his bag that tumbles out during class… Who is doing it? Why, etc…

Needless to say, somebody dressed in the camo and ski-mask clobber starts offing those in on the joke in the precise scenarios they dreamt up when they created their work of fiction.

cry_wolf 2005

Cry_Wolf is one of those films that thinks it’s way smarter than it actually is: Some moderate fanfare surrounded its US release that it packed an amazing twist. Well, it doesn’t. Nobody is dead beyond the girl from the start and Bon Jovi, who is Owen’s main suspect and, it turns out, the apparent slayer of woods-girl. The rest is written off as a joke on the new boy.

As it happens, Dodger has manipulated eeeeeverybody to cover up the fact that she is the killer, insanely jealous of an affair between woods-girl and Bon Jovi, she went the long way round to fool Owen into killing him. The rest of the story, The Wolf, the others being in on the gag, is all by the by.

cry_wolf 2005

So it’s ultimately one big lie of a slasher film, not a slasher film at all, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Hey, does that make it über smart? No, it makes it über fake and thus über annoying. At least April Fool’s Day was able to trade on likeable characters, not obnoxious, schemey teens who all seem to hate each other. There’s nobody really to root for: Owen’s not particularly sympathetic and drools after Dodger like a lovestruck puppy, while she is textbook bitchy girl material, and the others fulfil various SBC-101 roles with little to add.

Nicely made and casting a British lead was brave, but the amount of contrivances required for the idea to float is ridiculous to the point it makes Brenda’s big plan from Urban Legend look totally doable.

cry_wolf 2005

Blurbs-of-interest: Julian Morris was also in Sorority Row; Lindy Booth was in Wrong Turn and American Psycho II; Jared Padalecki was in House of Wax and the Friday the 13th reboot; Gary Cole was in The Town That Dreaded Sundown (remake-quel thingy).

El asesino y los zombies y los adolescentes en Halloween

cemetery of terror 1985CEMETERY OF TERROR

3.5 Stars  1985/91m

A.k.a. Cementerio del TerrorZombie Apocalypse

Director/Writer: Rubén Galindo Jr. / Cast: Hugo Stieglitz, Raúl Meraz, José Gómez Parcero, Cervando Manzetti, Edna Bolkan, Andrés Garcia Jr., René Cardona III, Erika Buenfil, Jacqueline Castro, Eduardo Capetillo, María Rebeca, Usi Valesco, Leo Villanueva, César Adrian Sanchez, César Valesco.

Body Count: 9


I can only hope/imagine that early production meetings for this project when kinda like this:

Señor Producerio: “Let’s do a zombie movie!”
Señor Investorio: “No, slasher movies are where the $$$ is. We’re doing one of those!”
Señor Producerio: “Zombie!”
Señor Investorio: “Slasher!”
Rubén Galindo Jr: “Amigos! Por favor… Let’s do both?”

80s horror movies don’t come much more fun than this kitchen-sink Mexican export, which shamelessly decides to throw basically everything into the pot and gleefully play in the mess. Though the a.k.a. title Zombie Apocalypse is a stretch and probably pissed off more than a few z-fans.

A stubby-fingered Devil-worshipping psycho killer known as Devlon is finally shot and killed by cops after claiming one last victim. His ex-Doctor is blamed by the police Captain for everything, but the Doc is hellbent on seeing the body cremated before anything else can occur. Nobody listens. Sigh.

cemetery of terror 1985

Meanwhile, three teen couples go waterskiing on a lake and then the boys arrange a private party at a mansion house to try and get into their respective girlfriends’ pants. Turns out they miss-sold the fiesta, and it’s actually just the six of them in the Mexican sister home to Garth Manor. Massively unimpressed by this, the girls demand to leave, but Jorge finds a creepy old book belonging to Devlon in the attic, and convinces his buddies to try a little Halloween night seance. Oh yeah, it’s also Halloween.

Elsewhere, some children are going trick-or-treating and plan to visit the cemetery, one of whom sports an awesome jacket with Michael Jackson on the back. More from them later.

The stupid teens drive to a morgue and choose guess which body for their prank? For reasons unknown the girls play along as Jorge reads from the book with the body lying on a grave back at the cemetery. Then it begins raining, so they bail. Too late though as Devlon has been resurrected and doesn’t take kindly to the home invasion of big-haired teens and their loud party choons.

Meanwhile, the five children arrive at the cemetery and explore.

cemetery of terror 1985

Re-meanwhile, Devlon begins eliminating the sexy-teens one by one, slashing them up with his bare hands, disemboweling some, and using some spooky mojo to possess an axe into whacking another guy in the face. These scenes pleasantly reminded me of Hell Night for some reason: Primal killer with claw-fingers, spooky old mansion house…

The Doc and the police Captain spend forever driving around when El Capitan is informed by his missus that their kids are missing. Doc steals the car and goes off looking for Devlon. The next few times we see him he’s just driving around achieving nothing while people are dying all over the place.

The children are soon spooked by a sudden flashfire coming from a grave and peg it, only for the dead to start rising around them at every turn. Why this happens now I’m not sure, maybe Devlon did something with the book? But the kids run to the house, find bodies, scream, doors lock themselves, Devlon appears, they run back into the cemetery, more zombies… It goes on a bit, this section, until the Doc rocks up (finally!) and informs the kids they need to destroy the book.

cemetery of terror 1985

Cemetery of Terror is like a 91-minute parody of 80s horror movies, with almost every cliche checked off the list (bar nudity, curiously) but boring it is not. In spite of the overlong scenes of the five kids running and shrieking – Galindo should’ve gone all out and killed one or two of them off – this is one full salad, with a full moon, creepy mist, a storm, falling trees, mausoleums and crypts galore. Throw in the gratuitous over-acting and it’s like a cross between a Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ segment and one of those interactive Halloween walkthroughs done right.

Blurb-of-interest: Galindo also directed Don’t Panic.

Loser Kills All

cruel world 2005

CRUEL WORLD

2 Stars  2005/85m

“On this show, you get voted killed off.”

Director: Kelsey T. Howard / Writers: Ed Hansen, Paul Lawrence & Paul T. Murray / Cast: Edward Furlong, Daniel Franzese, Laura Ramsey, Andrew Keegan, Susan Ward, Joel Michaely, Nate Parker, Nicole Bilderback, Aimee Garcia, Brian Geraghty, Sanoe Lake, Jaime Pressly, Sam Page.

Body Count: 10


Reality TV reject Furlong is so incensed by his national humiliation that he decides to produce his own show, housing nine college kids and giving them a series of bizarre tasks to carry out, which either see them eliminated or ‘sent home’. And by ‘sent home’ we mean the Angela Baker definition thereof.

He starts by murdering the woman who rejected him on a show called Lovers Lane. This is much-emblazoned star Jaime Pressly. I’m not really sure what she’s famous for, but the artwork makes a big deal out of her sub-Barrymore role in this.

Four guys and five girls enter the house – all of them walking stereotypes of the laziest kind: The fiery Latino girl, southern belle, bitchy backstabbing (literally) gay, slow-but-kind Utah farmboy… After a task pushes her too far, one girl opts to quit and is kicked into the pool and drowned; Another is voted out, driven away, and buried alive; A third chased by Furlong’s hulking, mentally-challenged brother (Franzese, who was in Mean Girls around the same time) and is locked in a shed, never to be heard from again.

cruel world 2005

Eventually, the dwindling contestants catch on, find bodies, and are forced into further challenges: Two guys have a caged fight to the death, then they’re made to stand on cones for hours on end… All very Survivor.

Cruel World has some good ideas but lacks the budget or creative team to see them through. Is it satirical? OK, so where’s the wit and barb? Is it horror? OK, why are most of the kills so dry? In its inability to choose what it wants (hey! maybe that’s a super-clever reference to the rejection of the killer!!) it ends up a mess. There is a well done decapitation of a contestant who escapes, and many of the actors went on to better things, but like any reality has-been it’s almost instantly forgettable and no more deserving of your time than My Little Eye, Kolobos, Voyeur.com

Blurbs-of-interest: Laura Ramsey was in Venom; Aimee Garcia was in 7eventy 5ive; Brian Geraghty was in the 2010 Open House.

BFRUSTRATINGU

jeepers creepers 3 2017

JEEPERS CREEPERS 3

2 Stars  2017/88m

“Third time’s the charm.”

Director/Writer: Victor Salva / Cast: Jonathan Breck, Stan Shaw, Gabrielle Haugh, Brandon Smith, Meg Foster, Chester Rushing, Jordan Salloum, Ryan Moore, Michael Sirow, Gina Philips.

Body Count: 14


Well…

I mean…

We waited, dude, not quite 23 years, but we waited 14 years for the next instalment of Jeepers Creepers.

We pondered the whole Cathedral rumours, the Old West prologue rumours, the Trish-and-teen-son rumours – it had become the horror film equivalent of Guns n’ Roses’ Chinese DemocracySpoilers ensue.

To quantify how Jeepers Creepers 3 (not a III to match II - most irritating) comes across, imagine that instead of another movie, they’d decided to opt for a cheap horror channel TV series. It looks like a 90 minute pilot for just such a thing. Name it Poho County or some shit, and focus on the lives of the people caught up in The Creeper’s 23-year awaited banquets.

jeepers creepers 3 2017

One might even think that the film could’ve been shot around 2008 by another director as a for-DVD stop-gap while Victor Salva worked out what direction he wanted to go in next. Y’see, Jeepers Creepers 3 is really Jeepers Creepers 1.5 – it’s set between the other two movies. WHY? What will this possibly add?

The sad answer is nothing. If anything it detracts from the mythos of the existing films, in much the same way as each Wrong Turn sequel and prequel and midquel cheapened the savage impact of the original. See that series for how the FX work became less and less convincing and more like dollar store Halloween masks for series mainstay Three-Finger. That’s not a far cry from Jeepers Creepers 3. That it was played in theaters for but one day before premiering on the SyFy channel should also be taken as a message of forewarning.

jeepers creepers 3 2017

What plot there is crowbarred into things picks up right after the winged beastie flies off with Darry Jenner. The cops try to impound the Creep Mobile but soon find it’s some kind of sentient machine, riddled with traps that cannot physically exist in the given space (unless steel spikes can bend?). The Sheriff returns – remembers the carnage from ’78 and calls in Creeper Hunter Michael, who owns a pick up with a mounted gun on it.

Hey, we’ve been here and done this!?

Elsewhere, Meg Foster and granddaughter are worrying about not having enough hay for their horse. Grandma keeps talking to someone who is revealed to be the ghost of Kenny (remember the Kenny and Darla story?), who buried something on the farm the day before he died, 23 years earlier. Granddaughter, Addie, goes to try and purchase hay, has brief flirtations with hay-purveyor Buddy, and accompanies him dropping off other orders for the afternoon.

This links on to a quartet of dirt-bikers who happen across Creeper Mobile in a field, try and break into it and end up skewered by its many traps. They’re assholes, so nobody cares.

jeepers creepers 3 2017

Meg Foster digs up the thing Kenny buried, and it’s a severed hand of the Creeper. Touching it gives you a full back catalogue of its life, what it is, where it comes from, etc. Is any of this shared with with audience? No. When the Sheriff comes by and touches it, experiencing the same intake of information is it shared? No. Neither is it used to defeat The Creeper, SO WHY BOTHER?

Addie is kidnapped by The Creeper and finds herself trussed in the back of his van with the last surviving dirt-bike kid. Why they’re wrapped in sheets and ropes before having whichever organs Mr C wants from them is just another one for the ever growing FAQ that should probably be addressed in the DVD booklet, along with ‘Why does Meg Foster look 103 years old?’

Side note: I always get Megs Foster, Ryan, and Tilly confused.

The Sheriff, Sgt Tubbs (last seen in JC1 and apparently only a day older), and the hunter guy take on the Creep Mobile, which is now also bulletproof (tires included) and can drop little mine-bombs like you get in Mario Kart. My head went into my hands for a minute here.

jeepers creepers 3 2017 gina philips

Eventually, Addie is able to escape, so I think she was supposed to be the lead? The film flits between characters so much it’s impossible to attach yourself to anybody for long enough to root for them. The Creeper goes to retrieve the hand Kenny buried and instead finds a sign that says ‘We know what you are’, shrieks into the night, and Buddy climbs aboard the schoolbus that will feature in Jeepers Creepers II.

WAIT! said I, if he has already experienced the nightmare of this creature then A). why the fuck is he going to a basketball game the very next day after 14 people have been murdered, and B). why in that next/last/whatever film does his character not speak up and say ‘oh hey, this thing attacked us yesterday!’ Retcon central.

What positives there are only orbit around it being good to see the Creeper Mobile back in play (those Jigsaw-lite traps though…), some decent photography here and there, a good score, and Breck is fine in his signature role – though that heinous red sweater needed to go. Everything else looks cheaper, drier, hugely unenthusiastic about itself. I can only think that budget constraints were so tight this was deemed a way of springboarding the franchise back into people’s minds in order to forge ahead properly in Jeepers Creepers 4, as the core demographic for teen-horror released in 2017 will only have been toddlers when the first two came out.

jeepers creepers 3 2017

Certainly, the end, where Gina Philips appears for literally about thirty seconds, hints towards a 2024-set next round, but given how long it’s taken this instalment to surface, we could be waiting till 2047.

Blurbs-of-interest: Foster was also in Stepfather II; Jonathan Breck was in The Caretaker and Mask Maker.

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